From Cook's Country | October/November 2013
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
Most recipes for this cornbread-based strata call for making homemade cornbread, cutting it into cubes, and staling it in the oven before proceeding with the usual strata protocol—mixing the bread with custard and letting it sit overnight. To speed up the process, we bake our cornbread on a rimmed baking sheet, creating a thin, quick-cooking layer of cornbread. The increased surface area also meant that we could eliminate the staling step. To prevent the spices from clumping in the custard, we add them to the cornbread batter instead. Eggs, milk, cheddar cheese, and scallions make for a rich, flavorful base for this make-ahead brunch dish.
NOTE: THE CORNBREAD WILL TAKE ABOUT AN HOUR TO PREPARE; THEN
The mix of cornbread and custard will rest inside the fridge for 6-24 hours. AND
The dish will then be baked for approximately 1 hour, before being served hot.
1. FOR THE CORNBREAD: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with vegetable oil spray.
2. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper, salt, and cayenne together in bowl. Whisk milk and eggs together in separate bowl. Whisk milk-egg mixture into cornmeal mixture until just combined. Pour batter into prepared sheet and spread to cover entire sheet. Bake until lightly browned and edges of cornbread pull away from sides of sheet, 17 to 19 minutes. Let cornbread cool in sheet on wire rack for 10 minutes.
3. FOR THE CUSTARD: Spray 13 by 9-inch baking dish with oil spray. Tear cornbread into 1-inch pieces and place in prepared dish. Add 1½ cups cheddar and scallions to cornbread and toss to combine. Whisk milk, eggs, and salt in bowl; pour custard over cornbread mixture. Top casserole with remaining 1 cup cheddar. Cover with plastic wrap, weigh down, and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.
4. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Remove weights from casserole and discard plastic. Bake until lightly browned and center registers 170 degrees, 50 to 60 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes. Serve.
TEST KITCHEN TECHNIQUE: CORNBREAD QUICKER
Before we could even think about starting our strata, we needed to bake and stale cornbread for its base. But would the extra work torpedo the whole concept? Not if we could simplify. So we cooked cornbread in sheet form rather than baking it in the usual deeper pan. Spread thin, the batter baked very quickly. We let it overbake slightly so we could skip the step of staling or toasting it. No need to neatly cube it either; we tore up the sheet with our hands.
FASTER, DRIER, EASIER: We bake the cornbread in a thin sheet.
View line-by-line Nutrition Insights™: Discover which ingredients contribute the calories/sodium/etc.
|Serving Size: 1 Serving (206g)|
|Recipe Makes: 12 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 223 (56%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 24.8g||33 %|
|Saturated Fat 13.2g||66 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 7.5g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 1.8g|
|Cholesterol 333.2mg||103 %|
|Sodium 491.2mg||17 %|
|Potassium 250mg||7 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 24.9g||7 %|
|Dietary Fiber 1.9g||8 %|
|Sugars, other 23.1g|
|Protein 18.9g||27 %|
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Calories per serving: 396
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